When you talk to people about suspension on zero turns, the first company that comes to mind is Ferris. The Briggs & Stratton owned company was the first to bring comfort to zero-turn operators with their suspension technology years ago. I am pleased to see that they are constantly looking to improve their technology to stay at the top of this field. I have just given their latest beast, the ISX2200 a good workout.
This model replaces the IS2100 and it has some great additions. The most notable at first glance is the new ForeFront Suspension on the front of the machine. This sees four solid control rods attaching the front forks (two each side) to the machine. It looks similar to an off-road racing buggy suspension and is designed to ensure the castor wheels are facing the correct direction and are in constant contact with the ground to do their job right through the entire suspension range. This, combined with the coil over front shocks, provides a smooth transition over uneven terrain with the deck and the castor wheels smoothly following the terrain. The front shocks are adjustable with five settings to suit the operator’s personal taste and the conditions. It is also worth noting that these shocks have been specifically designed for mowing conditions. Ferris stand by the robustness of their suspension system offering an incredible 5-year unlimited hour warranty on all suspension components.
As far as operator comfort goes, not only is it a comfortable ride thanks to the suspension, but they have also added a full suspension seat with arm rests and adjustable lumbar support ensuring excellent operator ride quality.
Briggs & Stratton’s own commercial Vanguard V-twin engine is the power behind this machine – it is fuel injected, produces 28hp and has a dry sump setup. This ‘Oil Guard System’ keeps the oil cooler than conventional wet sump setups and combined with its cyclonic filter keeps the oil in better condition for longer. Running this setup results in huge maintenance cost savings with the oil only needing to be changed every 500 hours, which is incredible.
The new dual cutting belt setup looks like it will be much easier to change belts than the old model. This setup prolongs belt life and another incredible offer to back this up is a 3-year or 300-hour belt warranty, which will give owners confidence in the new system.
The 61-inch fabricated and reinforced deck produced an excellent cut and dispersed the cut grass at a great rate. Care should be taken when stopping quickly at speed because the machine can dip through the suspension scalping slightly, but this is only when coming to a quick stop at speed.
The integrated ZT4400 Hydros push the unit along at a brisk 16km/h and create smooth controls. They are also serviceable for extended life.
The rear of the machine has been redesigned with an angled back, as well as increased height on the cowl to protect the engine more than previous models. The angled back gives extra ground clearance, which reduces the possibility of bottoming out at the base of steep inclines or when using ramps for loading.
Other little things that may seem insignificant but make a big difference are the rubber bushes in the hinge of the foldable ROPS. They eliminate the very annoying rattle, which comes from many other ROPS on the market. Also, the rubber discharge chute is forgiving when coming into contact with obstacles and it stays in the upright position when required for transport, loading or accessing narrow areas.
I am pleased to see that Ferris have continued to expand and develop their suspension technology and not sit back and rest on their initial technology. This machine is exceptionally comfortable for the operator and is efficient compared to many, which allows mowing at fast pace on uneven terrain without compromising cut quality.